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Austin, Texas, United States | Member Since 2013

  • 2 reviews
  • 2 ratings
  • 101 titles in library
  • 12 purchased in 2015

  • The Persian Empire

    • ORIGINAL (11 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor John W. Lee

    Over the span of 24 fascinating lectures, you'll take on the role of a history detective to discover the truth about the Persian Empire. You'll discover the key to the empire's success lay in its greatest rulers, each of whom played a critical role in shaping and strengthening a civilization we still remember today. Take this opportunity to complete your understanding of the ancient world and discover the humanity of the ancient Persians.

    Matthew R. Krouse says: "Ancient History Does Not Get Much Better Than This"
    "This Book Would be Better as a Visual Experience.."
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    I am a history buff and admired Dr. Lee's command of the material and his passion for it. I know with other video CD versions of "Great Courses" there are handbooks, visuals, etc. as part of the video series. I suspect that those versions of this lecture have a non-stop series of images which Dr. Lee refers to as he lectures. It was difficult to visualize this very "fact-based" set of lectures. He describes artifacts, objects and locations, none of which you can see obviously, by listening. It seems that this soundtrack was literally lifted from the in-classroom lecture without any adaption for the audio-only format. The Great Courses publishers do this lecture series a great disservice by being careless in adapting this to audiobook format. I wouldn't take any of their courses without the visuals now.Without the images or illustrations/maps, etc it becomes quite frustrating listening to events located in ancient cities without being able to see where they are, e.g., "Babylon". A verbal aside saying "Babylon, located in central modern Iraq, near the city of Hillah", etc.would have helped for some basic geographic positioning instead of saying "it's on the same latitude as San Diego" which doesn't tell us anything of value. I quit halfway through the first section. I wish I could get a refund. That was an expensive experiment learning that "Great Courses" don't translate well into audio files.

    What was most disappointing about The Great Courses’s story?

    Darius dies.

    What didn’t you like about Professor John W. Lee’s performance?

    See above.Given it is so "fact-based", without images it doesn't lend itself to stand-alone audio without adopion (there are some great examples of how to do this on Audible- I just listened to "Without Their Permission" and the author was very considerate and did an audio book which was uniquely produced for audio. For this lecture series to succeed in this medium, it would have to be more story-driven (vs. fact-oriented); think of how David McCullough or Robert Caro tell a historical story.

    Did The Persian Empire inspire you to do anything?

    Yes, read some BOOKs on it. :-)

    Any additional comments?

    Someone should get the "Great Courses" people to stop trying to take the shortcut way of simply re-packing the existing audio and re-engineer their content approach for audio-only.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Coming of the Third Reich

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Richard J. Evans
    • Narrated By Sean Pratt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    There is no story in 20th-century history more important to understand than Hitler’s rise to power and the collapse of civilization in Nazi Germany. With The Coming of the Third Reich, Richard Evans, one of the world’s most distinguished historians, has written the definitive account for our time.

    Tad Davis says: "Compelling and depressing"
    "General Rehash of Secondary Source Materials"

    After a longish introduction indicating why so many of the classic works on Nazi history are not accurate or deficient, this book rehashes secondary sources as many of the overview histories that Evans is critical of in his introduction. No news here nor does it deliver on the breadth and scope it promises at the outset. That the book substantively overlooks the entire story of how Hitler was funded and the role of industry in his rise seems an egregious omissions given the portentous introduction. The history of the Germany in the last three decades of the nineteenth century was interesting and the endnote comparisons between what was happening in all other parts of Europe at the start of the Third Reich was well done. But overall, it is a rather boring account of the most earth shattering events to have ever taken place in human history.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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